THERE has been plenty of player movement already in the ANZ Premiership with the Northern Stars and Northern Mystics releasing their player rosters a couple of weeks ago. Following on from that, the Southern Steel have announced their full squad for the 2021 ANZ Premiership season while both the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have released their midcourt and defensive units with the shooters still to be announced.
Arguably one of the biggest signings was that of England Roses goaler George Fisher. The Roses shooter is set to join the Southern Steel in 2021 and will be a great inclusion with her strong holds and accuracy to post a couple of focal points in her game play. The Steel will have a completely different looking shooting duo next season with two-time premiership player Tiana Metuarau making the jump from Pulse to Steel. The goal attack oozes class, impeccable timing and is not afraid to back herself range making the goaling duo an exciting prospect. Metuarau is not the only one to depart the Pulse and join the Steel with former defender-come-midcourter Renee Savai’inaea also joining the fold in 2021. The Steel also welcome Shannon Saunders and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit back for another season with the duo taking up co-captaincy roles. Youngster Taneisha Fifita, who was named in the Under 21 New Zealand squad, returns with her tenacity and physicality paramount to the way she approaches the game, while exciting wing defence Kate Heffernan is set to return after a solid season.
After spending a season with the Magic, Whitney Souness has made her way back to the Central Pulse and is set to join a stacked midcourt with Claire Kersten and new Silver Ferns squad member Maddy Gordon both re-signing to the club. There is no denying that the Pulse will have speed to burn in 2021 with Souness and Gordon renowned for their quick hands, fancy footwork and speed off the mark. In terms of defence, captain Katrina Rore has committed for another season while Kelly Jury is also set to pull on the yellow and black dress again. the duo formed a formidable combination in 2020 and will be hoping to inflict the same defensive pressure again in 2021 albeit without the services of Karin Burger who has made the switch to the Tactix. The Pulse have secured some young up and coming players with Parris Mason and Paris Lokotui who will relish the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.
It was a challenging 2020 season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, however heading into next year the Magic have recruited some highly experience and talented players in Temalisi Fakahokotau down back and Grace Kara through the midcourt. Fakahokotau is a game winner, able to go out hunting and change the course of a game with her tenacity and excitement. Joining her down back are Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong and while all three are typically accustomed to the goal keeper position, they have shown they can swing into goal defence when required. With Souness departing, Kara has made the change from the Stars to the Magic and will offer a great deal of experience in the frontend with her ball placement and composure. Captain Sam Winders returns for 2020 while newbies in Asher Grapes and Georgie Edgecombe round out the team so far.